Friday, January 18, 2013

The Mission of Addition

We're 2 weeks into the second half of the school year and I gotta say, my class this year is kinda rockin' and rollin' with themselves. It is so cool to see how much knowledge they've soaked up in half a year. Math used to be one of my least favorite things to teach, but as I'm trying out different things, I actually have found that in my 4th year of teaching I am enjoying it more and more.. dare I say, math is actually (gasp) FUN?! (By the way, my high school self just had a hernia at those very words I just typed. Math has never been my forte!)

I'm knee-deep into teaching my kiddos addition and they are loving it! They are so proud when they are able to solve an equation "in their minds". Even though I didn't officially introduce addition into our curriculum until now, little did my kinder babies know that they've been doing it all school year! I found a good routine that's worked well with this particular set of kiddos, who are pretty high academically this year. This month we added in Daily Math Practice to our math circle time - for those of you unfamiliar with that line of books, we are using the first grade edition in the picture below. There is no kindergarten version, but the first grade one is perfect for the second half of the year!

I scanned all of the pages into a PDF so that I could shine it up on the projector instead of making copies every day. The kids have their own whiteboards that they solve the problems on. When we first started, I kept it whole group in the sense that we solved every problem together and walked through each one step by step. Now that they've gotten the hang of it, I tell them that they can choose to solve the addition problems however they feel most comfortable - at this stage, their three options are:

1. Draw a picture.
2. Use your fingers.
3. Use your mind.

My students usually use a good mix of the three to solve their equations, and they have gotten SO good at it! The activities in this book are the perfect warm-up to our main lesson; and we do it right after calendar time ends.

Once my students got more comfortable with creating and solving addition problems, I came up with this little game for them to play called Piggy Bank Penny Addition. I made up these little addition mats - nothing fancy! - and split up my kids into groups of three. Each kid gets a job: one is the dice roller, one is the recorder, and one is the 'penny pusher'. The dice roller rolls twice to get the two numbers that they will be adding together; and the penny pusher counts out that many pennies in each bank for each number. The recorder is then responsible for writing the equation and then they all solve it together. They did so great at creating and solving their equations and loved playing it! It's great when something so easy to set up can keep them so engaged in their learning!

I'm hoping to finish up my new weather unit this weekend in time to get you ready for your spring/weather themes, so keep an eye out! :)

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